Sometimes you bite off a bit more than you can chew! We had an ambitious goal of riding 75 miles on day 2 to meet some friends at a campground on Bodega Bay. It seemed doable on paper, but soon reality set in. We got off to a slow start as we meandered our way across the Golden Gate Bridge and through Marin county's back roads out to the coast. The biggest challenge was finding a detailed map of the area (which we never succeeded in doing), but people were very willing to offer directions when they came across us stopped and looking lost. This was a frequent occurrence and probably the reason it took us 3 hours to go 20 miles as we listened countless times to directions stating, “go up the hill, take a left ¾ of the way down the hill, go behind the big building, then right at the bridge, over 2 more hills, yadda, yadda, yadda". We pretty much smiled and nodded, followed as many directions as we could remember and then the whole process repeated itself until we finally made it to the coast.
Leaving familiar territory.

Once we were finally on Hwy 1 we were met with other challenges – major hills and the gnarliest wind imaginable! All I have to say is that it's a damn good thing I love the challenge of climbing hills because if I hated it as much as I hate the wind, I would have turned back long ago and be back home by now sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine. I have to take back my comment about this being easier than anticipated. Our first day was a cake walk but it's been anything but a relaxing ride since then. I think most would call this pure torture! It's extremely discouraging when I look down at my speedometer as I'm climbing a hill and see that I'm only going 5mph – it's a wonder how we keep these bikes upright while moving so slowly. But what's even more disheartening is when I realize I'm pedaling as hard as I can on the downhills as well, but due to the wind, am only going 8mph! We're clearly learning the hard way that we chose to ride the west coast the wrong way!

Anyway, on day two's ride, we pushed our way (very slowly) for 40 more miles after reaching Hwy 1. It was getting late, we were exhausted and we still had 15 miles to go before meeting up with our friends. But sometimes friends are angels and as I crested the 800th hill of the day I noticed a Subaru in the oncoming lane honking its horn, slowing own and arms waving out the windows. It only took an instant to realize they were our friends, Dave and Brian offering a ride. Anyone who knows me knows I don't take shortcuts and if I say I'm going to finish something, you can bet money that I will. However, I didn't hesitate for a nanosecond on this offer. When Mike rolled up and pulled out the map, I was worried he'd pass up the lift and want to finish out our day, but we quickly agreed a cold beer and hanging out with friends sounded a million times better than battling the wind for another two hours!

Just a little help from our friends!

Are we cheaters? Maybe, depending on how you look at it, but once we got in that car and drove over many more ginormous hills, we were willing to be cheaters. HUGE thank yous to Brian and Dave for their sag wagon support – Mike and I were more than happy to get a little help from our friends that day! (And in fact, now after 4 days of this nonsense, we're praying for random friends to hunt us down on the road offering rides)!


Nancy Etchemendy said...

You guys ROCK! I've been in that wind on Hwy 1 up north. I could barely walk in it, let alone ride a bike. You went 60 miles by sheer force of will. You earned the ride, the beer, and then some. Thinking of you lots every day...especially at 8:00 Mondays and Wednesdays. Am not so great at Change.

Mom said...

I am glad to see that you had your wits about you. Dave and Brian would understand better than most. Enjoy! Love you bunches!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, they get by with a little help from their friends! :) - Bob

Chrissy said...

I absolutely HATE wind too! It must have been our upbringing in Marshall! Anyways, don't stress about getting a short ride, it's not cheating...it's not like you specifically said you were going to bike the entire world with no exceptions. I'm sure you were at the point where you would do just about anything for a cold beer! :) Just keep on truckin'! You guys are doing great.

Mike said...

Mike & Cari: no worries...you will have many opportunities to make up for the car time! Whenever you hit a rough patch think of all us who are living vicariously through you, secretly wishing we were as brave and unconventional! "May the road rise up to meet you, the wind be at your back, and the rubber side always down".

RossF said...

That is so perfect! Love your writing, Cari. I can definitely imagine the feeling you had when you saw those two coming towards you.

A tip: use something else to host your images, like flickr or photobucket or something. Blogspot downgrades the quality too much. You ought to be backing up all your pictures online, in full size, just in case anyways. Another good backup program is MozyHome.

Niles said...

Mike! You're crazy, and that's why you're so awesome. How friggin' cool to drop everything and let your bike and your dreams lead the way! I trust you will look back on this experience favorably for the rest of your life. Good luck!